Habs Goalie: Price (W)
Opposition Goalie: Biron (L)
Habs goalscorers: Cole, Gionta (2), Plekanec
It's nice putting Pleks back in the dome. I feel like the last couple times I've blogged the game haven't been his best performances. Tonight he was a force to be reckoned with—especially on special teams—and logged his 20th point in 20 games.
Another player I'm glad to put in the dome tonight, as I think our captain has also been all too quiet lately. Two beauty goals tonight earn him dome status, and it's worth noting that both these goals came off passes from Gomez. Do we dare hope that this is the start of something good?
Erik Cole - Game Puck
Despite a slow start to the season, Cole has become a key piece of the offensive puzzle. He is a consistent source of offensive pressure and no slouch in his own end, either. Tonight was no exception and he set the tone early on for his teammates with a welcome PP goal, and continued a 5-game, 7-point streak with a goal and an assist tonight.
With so many of our defense corps injured, we relied on sophomore Subban to play the role of grizzled defensive veteran tonight. He ably shouldered the responsibility and logged workhorse minutes in his own end and on the penalty kill. He kept in the defensive mindset very well and was a key piece of Price's shutout tonight.
Weber was another unlikely "veteran" tonight, and it was clear that he was playing the role of puck-moving defender with a green light to shoot. He did that very well and is developing into a strong PP quarterback as well as showing good judgement and defensive sense.
Price wasn't tested as much as he could have been, as overall the team was very good at chasing pucks in their own end, controlling rebounds and keeping any extended pressure from developing. New York still managed some great chances on the run, and his cross-crease save on Gaborik early in the first was spectacular. A flurry of chances in the dying minutes were his toughest test this evening, and he weathered them easily to walk away with a second straight shutout.
An exciting game to watch, especially through the first period. The Canadiens dominated this one pretty decisively and never really allowed the Rangers to set up shop in the offensive zone.
For once, our power play didn't seem so pathetic as usual. We went 2/6 (compared to 10/72 before tonight) and had convincing offense during all of them (if only for the last 40 seconds on the 5th PP thanks to strong play from Cammalleri and Diaz). It was encouraging to see some sign of our previous dominance, and both Diaz and Weber are developing into able quarterbacks in the absence of Markov and with Subban being asked to play a more stay-at-home role while Gill, Spacek and Campoli are out. I'm impressed with their vision and patience, as frustrating as it can be sometimes during extended passing bouts on the power play.
Overall a solid showing from an offensively fired-up unit. New York let us have a fair amount of space this game, and that allowed us to use our speed and some smart passing from our young defensemen to play our kind of game. When we're given that space and allowed to play that kind of run-and-gun hockey I think this is a tough squad to beat.